American and British English pronunciation differences

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Differences in pronunciation between American English (AmE) and British English (BrE) can be divided into:

In the following discussion

  • superscript A2 after a word indicates that the BrE pronunciation of the word is a common variant in AmE.
  • superscript B2 after a word indicates that the AmE pronunciation of the word is a common variant in BrE.
  • superscript A1 after a word indicates that the pronunciation given as BrE is also the most common variant in AmE.
  • superscript B1 after a word indicates that the pronunciation given as AmE is also the most common variant in BrE.


Subscript a or b means that the relevant unstressed vowel is also reduced to /ə/ or /ᵻ/ in AmE or BrE, respectively.

French stress[edit]

For many loanwords from French where AmE has kept the original French final-syllable stress, BrE stresses an earlier syllable. French loanwords that differs in stress only are listed below.

BrE AmE words with relevant syllable stressed in each dialect[1][2]
1st last balletAB2, barragea,[nb 1] batonab*, bereta[nb 2], bidet, blaséA2, bouffantA2,[nb 3] brasserieb, brassiereab, brevetabA2,[3] brochurebB2*,[nb 4][4] buffeta,[nb 5][5] cachetA2, café*a*b, caffeineA2, canardaB1,[6] chagrina, chaletA2, chiffonAB2,[7] cliché*a, collagea*B2, coupé, croissant*a, debrisaA2,[nb 6] debut, décorA2, detailaA2, figurine, flambé,[nb 7] frappé, frontierAB2, garageaB2,[nb 8] gourmetA2, lamé[nb 9], matinée, milieuB2, mundaneAB2, negligeeA2, nonchalantbA2, nondescript, parquet*b, pastelB2b, pastilleb,[nb 10] pâté,[nb 11] précisA2, sachet, salona, savantabA2, solfège,[9] sorbet,[nb 12] soupçon,[10] vaccine.

Also some French names, including: Degas, Dijon,[11] Dumas,[12] Manet,[13] Monet,[nb 13][14] Renaulta,[nb 14][15] Rimbaud.[nb 15][16]

2nd last attaché, consomméa, décolleté, déclassé, démodé,[17] denouement, distingué, escargot, exposé, fiancé(e)A2,[nb 16] retroussé.

Also some French names, including: Debussyb, Dubonneta.

last 1st addressbA1 (noun), assaybAB2 (noun), decadebB1,[nb 17][18] esquireb*A2, magazineA2, mayonnaiseA2 tiradeA2, ((bi)p)artisana.B1/2[nb 18]
2nd 1st artisanalA1, liaisonabA2*[nb 19],[19] macraméab, Renaissanceab[nb 20]

Verbs ending in –ate[edit]

Most 2-syllable verbs ending -ate have first-syllable stress in AmE and second-syllable stress in BrE. This includes castrate, cremateA2,[20] dictateA2, donateA2, locateA2, migrate, narratebA2, placatebB2, prostrate, pulsate, rotate, serrateA2, spectate, striate,[21] translateA1, vacateb*A2,[22] vibrateA2. Examples where AmE and BrE match include create, debate, equate, elate, negate; and mandate and probate with first-syllable stress. Derived nouns in -ator retains the distinction, but those in -ation do not. Also, migratoryB1[23] and vibratoryB1 [24] sometimes retain the distinction.[1]

Most longer -ate verbs are pronounced the same in AmE and BrE, but a few have first-syllable stress in BrE and second-syllable stress in AmE: elongateaA2, infiltrateA2, remonstrateabA2,[25] tergiversateaA1[nb 21].[26] For some derived adjectives ending -atory stress-shifting to -a(tory)- occurs in BrE. Among these cases are celebratorya[27] (BrE: /ˌsɛlˈbrtəri/), compensatorya,[28] participatorya,[29] regulatoryaB1.[30] AmE stresses the same syllable as the corresponding -ate verb (except compensatory, where AmE stresses the second syllable[31]). A further -atory difference is laboratoryB2: AmE /ˈlæbrəˌtɔːri/ and BrE /ləˈbɒrətri/.[1][32]

Miscellaneous stress[edit]

There are a number of cases where same-spelled noun, verb and/or adjective have uniform stress in one dialect but distinct stress in the other (e.g. alternate, prospect): see initial-stress-derived noun.

The following table lists words not brought up in the discussion so far where the main difference between AmE and BrE is in stress. Usually it also follows a reduction of the unstressed vowel. Words marked with subscript A or B are exceptions to this, and thus retains a full vowel in the (relatively) unstressed syllable of AmE or BrE. A subsequent asterisk, *, means that the full vowel is usually retained; a preceding * means that the full vowel is sometimes retained.

Words with other points of difference are listed in a later table.

BrE AmE words with relevant syllable stressed in each dialect[1][2]
1st 2nd adultBAB2, aristocratAB2, BalthazarA, cerebral/cerebrumA2, concave/convexABAB2, harassAB2, illustrativeA2, inculcateAB2, kilometre/kilometerAB2,[nb 22][33] omegaA, patinaA1, quadrupleABAB2, stalactiteA2, stalagmiteA2, SuezA2*, subalternA2, thanksgivingABB2, transferenceAA2, UlyssesA
2nd 1st ancillaryB, applicableAB2,[34] AugustineBA2, catenary, controversyB1, corollary, defence/offenseAA2 (sport), fritillary, guffawA1,[35] papaAB2, marshmallowAB,[nb 23] medullaryBAB2,[36] miscellany,[nb 24] patronal,[37] predicative, pretence/pretenseAA1, princess*AA2, saxophonistBB2, spread(-)eagledAB,[38] substratumABA2, tracheaAB2, weekendABAB2
1st 3rd obsoleteABAB2, opportuneAB, submarineABAB2(noun)
2nd 3rd submarinerA2
3rd 1st cockatooABAB2, hemoglobinAB, margarineB, PyreneesAB
3rd 2nd arytenoidA1, obscurantismABA2[39]



Where the syllable preceding the suffixes -ary, -ery, -ory, -mony or -ative is unstressed, AmE pronounces the antepenultimate syllable with a full vowel sound: /ˌɛri/ for -ary and -ery, /ˌɔːri/ for -ory, /ˌmni/ for -mony and /ˌtɪv/ -ative. BrE reduces the vowel to a schwa or even elides it completely: /əri/ or /ri/, /məni/ and /ətɪv/ -ative. So military is AmE /ˈmɪləˌtɛri/ and BrE /ˈmɪltəri/ or /ˈmɪltri/,[40] inventory is AmE /ˈɪnvənˌtɔːri/ and BrE /ˈɪnvəntri/,[41] testimony is AmE /ˈtɛstˌmni/ and BrE /ˈtɛstməni/.[42] and innovative is AmE /ˈɪnˌvtɪv/ or /ˈɪnəˌvtɪv/ and BrE /ˈɪnəvətɪv/.[43] (The elision is avoided in carefully enunciated speech, especially with endings -rary,-rery,-rory.[citation needed])

Where the syllable preceding -ary, -ery, -ory, -mony or -ative is stressed however, AmE also usually reduces the vowel: /əri/, /məni/. Exceptions include library,[44] primaryA2,[45] rosemary.[46] (Pronouncing library as /ˈlˌbɛri/ rather than /ˈlˌbrɛri/ is highly stigmatized in AmE,[citation needed] whereas in BrE, /ˈlbri/ is common in rapid or casual speech.)

The suffix -berry is pronounced by similar rules, except that in BrE it may be full /ˌbɛri/ after an unstressed syllable, while in AmE it is usually full in all cases. Thus we have strawberry: BrE /ˈstrɔːbri/, AmE /ˈstrɔːˌbɛri/, and whortleberry: BrE/AmE /ˈwɔːrtlˌbɛri/.

The placename component -bury (e.g. Canterbury) has a similar difference: AmE has a full vowel: /ˌbɛri/ where BrE has a reduced or none at all: /bri/.

Note that stress differences between the dialects occur with some words ending in -atory (listed above) and a few others like capillary (included in #Miscellaneous stress above).

Formerly the BrE–AmE distinction for adjectives carried over to corresponding adverbs ending -arily, -erily or -orily. However, nowadays some BrE speakers adopt the AmE practice of shifting the stress to the antepenultimate syllable: militarily is thus sometimes /ˌmɪlˈtɛrli/ rather than /ˈmɪltrli/, and necessarily is in BrE either /ˈnɛsəsrɪli/. or /ˌnɛsˈsɛrli/[47]


Words ending in unstressed -ile derived from Latin adjectives ending -ilis are mostly pronounced with a full vowel in BrE /l/ but a reduced vowel or syllabic L in AmE /ˈˈəˈˈl/ (e.g. fertile rhymes with fur tile in BrE but with furtle in AmE).

AmE will (unlike BrE, except when indicated withB2) have a reduced last vowel:[1]

  • generally in facile, (in)fertile, fissile, fragile, missile, stabile (adjective), sterile, tensile, versatile, virile, volatile
  • usually in agile, decile, ductile,[48] futile, hostile, juvenile, (im)mobile (adjective & phone),[49] nubile, projectile, puerile, reptile, servile, tactile, utile;[50]
  • sometimes in domicileB2,[nb 25][51] infantile, pensile, percentile, senile.[nb 26] textile
  • never in crocodile, exile, gentile, reconcile; nor to compounds of monosyllables (e.g. turnstile from stile).

In some words the pronunciation /l/ also comes into play:

Related endings -ility, -ilize, -iliary are pronounced the same in AmE as BrE.


The suffix -ine,[9][54] when unstressed, is pronounced sometimes /n/ (e.g. feline), sometimes /n/ (e.g. morphine) and sometimes /ɪn/ (e.g. medicine). Some words have variable pronunciation within BrE, or within AmE, or between BrE and AmE. Generally, AmE is more likely to favour /n/ or /ɪn/, and BrE to favour /n/.

BrE /n/, AmE (1) /n/: carbineA2, FlorentineA2, philistineA2, pristineB1[nb 27], salineA2, serpentineA2.

BrE /n/, AmE (1) /n/ (2) /ɪn/: adamantineA2.

BrE /n/, AmE /ɪn/: turbineAB2, uterineB2.

BrE /n/, AmE (1) /ɪn/ (2) /n/ (3) /n/: crystalline, labyrinthine.[55]

BrE (1) /n/, AmE (1) /n/ (2) /ɪn/: iodine AB2.

Weak forms[edit]

The titles Saint and Sir[citation needed] before a person's name have weak forms in BrE but not AmE: before vowels, [snt][56] and [sə].

Miscellaneous pronunciation differences[edit]

These tables list words pronounced differently but spelled the same. See also the table of words with different pronunciation reflected in the spelling.

Single differences[edit]

Words with multiple points of difference of pronunciation are in the table after this one. Accent-based differences are ignored. For example, Moscow is RP /ˈmɒskəʊ/ and GAm /ˈmɑːskaʊ/, but only the /oʊ/-/aʊ/ difference is highlighted here, since both the /ɒ/-/ɑː/ difference and the RP use of /əʊ/ rather than /oʊ/ are predictable from the accent. Also, tiara is listed with AmE /æ/; the marry–merry–Mary merger changes this vowel for many Americans. Some AmE types are listed as /ɒ/ where GAm merges to /ɑː/.

A2 means that American speakers may use either pronunciation;B2 means British speakers may use either pronunciation.

BrE AmE Words
/ɑː/ /æ/ Excluding words changed by the trap–bath split,[57] (which affects most southern British speakers and almost no American speakers): banana, cadreAB2,[58][59] choraleA2,[60] ColoradoA2,[61] cyclorama, diorama, Internationale, khakiA2, localeA2, macaqueAB2, morale, musicale, NevadaA2,[62] pajama(s)A2,[63] PakistaniA2, panoramaA2, pastorale, plaqueB2, rale, rationale, Sahara, scenarioA2, sopranoA2, SudanB2, sultana, tiaraA2[1]
/æ/ /ɑː/ "A" in the anglicised pronunciation of many foreign names and loanwords, e.g.: AnkaraA2,[64] aquaA2,[65] Basra, Boccaccio, CaracasB2, Casablanca, Casals, caveatA2, Cezanne, chiantiA2, Delgado, goulashA2,[66] grappa, Gulag, hacienda, kebab,[67] Las (placenames, e.g. Las Vegas), lasagnaB2, latteB2, Lausanne, macho, mafiaA2, MilanA2,[68] Mohammed, MombasaA2, paso doble, pasta, patio, pecanAB2, PicassoA2, pilaff, Rachmaninoff, rallentandoA2,[69] ravioli, regattaA2,[70] shaman, SlovakA2, squacco, Sri LankaA2, Uganda, Vasco da Gama, Vivaldi, wigwam[1]
/ɑː/ /eɪ/ charade, cicadaA2, galaAB2, laver (seaweed)AB2,[71] pralineB2,[72] promenadeAB2, pro rataAB2, tomatoA2, stratumB2[nb 28] [9][54]
/eɪ/ /ɑː/ esplanadeAB2
/æ/ /eɪ/ basilA2 (plant), canineB2, catchA2,[73] granaryB2, (im)placable, macronA2, pal(a)eo-, (com/un)patriot(ic)B2, (ex/re)patriate/-ationB2, patronise/-ageAB2, phalanxA2, plaitA2, Sabine, satrapA2, satyrA2[9][54]
/eɪ/ /æ/ Appalachia(n), apparatusA2, apricotA2, comrade, dahliaA2, dataA2, digitalisA2, gratisB2, patentB2, statusA2[9][54]
/æ/ /ɒ/ twatB2
/ɒ/ /æ/ quagmireB2,[74] scallopB2, wrath[nb 29]
/ɔː/ /oʊ/ porous
/oʊ/ /ɔː/ wontA2[1]
/ɑː/ /ɔː/ quarkAB2
/ɔː/ /ɑː/ schmaltzA2[75]
/æ/ /ɔː/ asphalt[1]
/ɒ/ /ɔː/ alcoholA2,[1] atoll, gnocchi, oratory, parasol
/ɔː/ /ʊ/ courgette[nb 30], your
/ɔː/ /aʊ/ glaucomaAB2, traumaAB2[1][2]
/ɔː(l)/ /æl/ falconA2[nb 31][9][71]
/iː/ /ɛ/ Aesculapius, Aeschylus, (a)esthete/-ticB2,[76] an(a)esthetist/-ize, amenityB2,[77] besti(al/ary), breveA2, D(a)edalus, (d)evolutionAB2, ecumenicalB2, ephodAB2, epochalB1,[78] eraA2,[79] esotericB2,[80] h(a)emo-, Hephaestus, hygienicA2, hysteriaA2,[81] KenyaB2, lever(age)AB2, methaneB2, OedipusA2, (o)estrogenB2,[82] (o)estrusB2,[83] p(a)edophile, penalizeA2, Ph(a)edrus, predecessorA2, predilectionA2,[84] pyrethrinA2, qu(a)estor, schizophreniaA2,[85] senileA2, (bi/quin/quater)centenaryB2
/ɛ/ /iː/ CecilAB2, crematoriumA2, cretin, depotA2,[86] eco-B2, egoB2, equineAB2, equinoxAB2, leisureA2, medievalAB2, PetrarchAB2, presentationA2,[87] reconnoit(re/er)A2, zebraB2, zenithAB2
/iː/ /eɪ/ beta, eta, heinousB2, quayA2, reparteeA2,[88] theta, zeta
/eɪ/ /iː/ deityAB2, Haggai,[89] HeleneA2, IsraelA2
/ɛ/ /eɪ/ ateB2, mêléeA2,[9][54] presa
/eɪ/ /ɛ/ again(st)B2, nonpareil[9][54]
/ɒ/ /ʌ/ hovelAB2, hoverA2, want(ed)A2. Also the strong forms of these function words: (every/some/no/any)bodyA2, becauseAB2 (and clipping 'cos/'cause), fromA2, ofA2, Somme, wasA2, whatA2
/ʌ/ /ɒ/ accompliceB2,[90] accomplishB2,[91] colanderB2, conjureA2, constableB2, LombardyB2, monetaryA2, -mongerA2
/ɒ/ /oʊ/ adios, Aeroflot, ayatollah, Barbados, baroqueB2,[92] BoccheriniA2,[93] Bogota, calvados, Chopin, cognacA2,[94] compost, concerto grossoA2,[95] ErosA2, homo-B2, Interpol, logos (singular)A2, Lod, olfactoryA2,[96] pedagogyA2, Pinocchio, pogrom, polkaB2, produce (noun)A2,[97] professorial, prophy-(lactic/laxis), protegeB2,[98] ProvencalA2,[99] realpolitik, Rosh HashanahA2, sconeAB2, shone, solsticeA2,[100] sojourn, TolstoyA2,[101] trollB2, yogurtB2[102]
/oʊ/ /ɒ/ Adonis, codicilB2[103] codifyA2, goffer, ogleA2, process (noun)A2,[104] projectB2(noun), slothA2, trothA2, wrothB2
/ɪ/ /aɪ/ dynasty, hibiscus, housewifery,[78] idyll, Iran, Iraq, italicA2,[105] itinerant, (long/short)-livedA2,[106][107] pipette, privacyB2,[108] simultaneousA2, tinnitus, titaniumAB2, tricolo(u)rB2,[109] Tyrolean, vicariousAB2, vitaminB2. See also -ine.[1]
/aɪ/ /ɪ/ butylB2, cervical, cyclic(al)B2, di-AB2[nb 32], divisive, doctrinal, finance, forsythia, -isation/-izationA2, minorityAB2, primer (schoolbook), Pythagoras, subsidence/-ent, synapseB2, umbilical, urinal. See also -ine.[1][9]
/aɪ/ /eɪ/ Isaiah[1]
/aɪ/ /iː/ eitherAB2, neitherAB2, Pleiades, via. See also -ine.
/iː/ /aɪ/ albino, geyser, migraineB2. Also the prefixes anti-A2, multi-A2, semi-A2 in loose compounds (e.g. in anti-establishment, but not in antibody). See also -ine.
/iː/ /ɪ/ beenB2,[110] creek, invalid (noun), prima
/ɪ/ /iː/ aphrodisiac, bulimia, memorabilia, pi(t)taB2, prestigious
/ɛ/ /ɑ/ enclave, envelopeAB2, envoi/-voy
/æ/ /ɛ/ femme fataleA2, pall-mallA2[nb 33][9][54]
/aʊ/ /uː/ nousA2
/ʊ/ /ɪ/ kümmel
/ʊ/ /uː/ BuddhaA2, cuckoo, guru
/uː/ /ʊ/ boogie-woogie, boulevard, coop, hoofA2, hoop, roof, rootA2, snooker, woofA2 (weaving)
/uː/ /ə/ ferrule
/ʊ/ /ɜ:/ courier
/ʊ/ /ʌ/ brusqueB2, MuslimAB2
/ʌ/ /ɜ:/ burrow, courage, currant, (con/re)current, currency, curry, flourish, flurry, furrier, furrow, hurry, nourish, occurrence, scurrilous, scurry, slurry, surreptitious, turret, worry
/ə/ /ʌ/ surplus
/ʌ/ /ə/ dandruff
/ʌ/ /uː/ felucca
/uː/ /aʊ/ routeA2[111]
/oʊ/ /uː/ broochA2
/uː/ /oʊ/ cantaloup(e)
/ʌ/ /oʊ/ covert (adj.)AB2,[112] plover
/oʊ/ /aʊ/ MoscowA2
/ə(r)/ /ɑːr/ MadagascarA2
/ə(r)/ /ɜːr/ chauffeur
/ɑː(r)/ /ɜːr/ Berkeley, Berkshire, Cherwell, clerk, derby, Hertford(shire). (The only AmE word with 〈er〉 = /ɑː/] is sergeant.)
/ɜː(r)/ /ɛr/ errA2
/ɛr/ /ɜːr/ deterrentA2
/ɛr/ /ɪr/ inherent
/ɪə(r)/ /ɪr/ or /ɛr/ coherent
/ɪr/ /ɜːr~ɚ/ chirrupA2, squirrel, stirrupA2, syrupA2
/ɔː(r)/ /ər/ acorn, record (noun), stridorAB2
/ə/ /ɒ/ Amazon, anacoluthon, automaton, Avon, capon, crampon, crayon, hexagon, Lebanon, lexicon, marathon, (m)ascot, melancholy,[113] myrmidon, octagon, Oregon, pantechnicon, paragon, Parthenon, pentagon, phenomenon, polygon, pylon, pythonA2, Rubicon, saffron, silicon
/ɒ/ /ə/ Aesop, Amos, condom, despot, Enoch, ingot, mosquito, sombrero
/ɒ/ /ɛ/ roentgen, Stendhal
/ə/ /ɛ/ nonsense
/ɛ/ /ə/ congress, Kentucky
/ɛ/ /ᵻ/ parallelepiped[114]
/ɛ/ /ɪ/ manageress, spinet
/ɪ/ /ɛ/ deficitB2, despicable
/ɪ/ /ə/ impetigo, vehicleA2
/ə/ /æ/ applique, baboon, bassoon, Capri, fastidious, nasturtium, papoose, platoon, raccoon, taboo, tattoo, trapeze
/æ/ /ə/ massage, program(me)
/ə/ /eɪ/ -ative, DraconianA2, grimace, satanic
/eɪ/ /ə/ entrails, template
/ə/ /oʊ/ anchovy, obedience/-entAB2, official, probation, procedure, prohibit, proliferate, prolific, Prometheus, prophetic, propinquity, prorogation, protest (verb), protract, protrude, protuberance/-ant, varicose, also place names such as EdinburghA2 (see also -ory and -mony)
/oʊ/ /ə/ kimono, procrastinate
/juː/ /uː/ barracuda, minute (adj.), pumaA2, revenueA2 (as well as all words with pronunciations based predictably upon the yod-dropping phenomenon, the extent of which is much greater for American speakers than British speakers)
/uː/ /juː/ couponA2, fuchsine, HoustonB2
/juː/ /w/ conduit, iguanaB2,[115] jaguar, NicaraguaB2
/ə(r)/ /jər/ figureA2 for the verb
/ʊ/ /jʊ/ eruditeA2,[116] purulent, virulence
/jʊ/ /ʊ/ duress, Honduras, résuA2[117]
/ɑː/ /ə/ charivari
/ɑː/ /ət/ nougat[nb 34]
/eɪ/ /ət/ sorbet,[nb 35] tourniquet[1]
/ət/ /eɪ/ fillet
/oʊ/ /ɒt/ HuguenotA2
/ɜː/ /uː/ milieu
/ɜː(r)/ /ʊr/ connoisseurA2, entrepreneurA2, masseur
/ɜːz/ /uːs/ Betelgeuse, chanteuse, chartreuseA2, masseuse
/z/ /s/ AussieA2, blouse (noun), blouson, complaisantA2, crescentB2, dextrose, diagnoseA2, erase, fuselageA2, greasy, mimosa, parse, ruse, talisman, trans-AB2 (in some words), treatise, usage, usurpAB2, valise, venison, visa
/s/ /z/ asthma, chromosome, meso-AB2
/ts/ /z/ piazzaA2, schnauzer, terrazzo
/ð/ /θ/ bequeath, boothB2, loath(ful/ly/some)A2, smithyA2, withstand(ing)A2
/ʃ/ /ʒ/ AsiaB2, cashmere, PersiaB2, (as/dis)persionA2, (ex/in)cursionB2, (im/sub)mersion, (a/con/di/in/per/re)versionA2
/dʒ/ /tʃ/ sandwichB2,[118] spinachB2
/tʃ/ /dʒ/ Chou (en Lai)
/tʃ/ /ʃ/ braggadocio
/ʃ/ /tʃ/ chassis
/sju:/ /ʃu:/ issueB2, tissueB2, sexual(ity)B2[119][120]
/z(j)u:/ /ʒu:/ JesuitA2[121][122]
/sɪ/ /ʃ/ cassiaA2, CassiusA2, DionysiusA2,[123] hessian, Lucius, (ne/omni/pre)science/-ent, Theodosius
/zɪ/ or /sɪ/ /ʃ/ nauseaA2, transientA2
/zɪ/ /ʒ/ artesian, Elysian, Frisian, Frasier, glazier, grazier, hosiery, Indonesia, Malaysia, Parisian, Polynesia, Rabelaisian
/dɪ/ /dʒi/ cordial(ity)
/tɪ/ /tʃi/ besti(al/ary), celestial[124]
/tɪ/ /ʃ/ consortiumB2,[125] otiose, sentientB2[126][127]
/ʃ/ /s/ commensurableAB2[128]
/s/ /ʃ/ licorice/liquoriceAB2
/ʃ/ /sk/ scheduleB2
/iːʃ/ /ɪtʃ/ nicheAB2
/t/ /θ/ AnthonyAB2
/t/ /d/ TaoismA2
/kw/ /k/ conquistador
/k/ /kw/ questionnaireB2
/v/ /f/ nephewB2 (The old English pronunciation with /v/ has to a large extent been replaced by /f/ due to the spelling latinization of Middle English "neveu". The preference breakdown in BrE is /f/ 79%, /v/ 21%.)[129]
(sounded) (silent) Cannes, chthonicB2,[78][130] diaper, herbA2,[131] KnossosB2,[132] oftenAB2, phthisisB2, salveA2,[71] schismAB2, solder, (un)toward(s)A2(prep.),B2.[1]
(silent) (sounded) (in)comparable/-ably, medicineB2, modernB2, SingaporeB2, suggestA2,[9][54] (un)comfortable/-ablyB2, Warwick, wh-. See also -ary -ery -ory -bury, -berry.

Multiple differences[edit]

The slashes normally used to enclose IPA phonemic transcriptions have been omitted from the following table to improve legibility.

Spelling BrE IPA AmE IPA Notes
advertisement ədˈvɜːtɪsmənt ˌædvərˈtaɪzmənt  
agent provocateur ˌæʒɒ̃ prəˌvɒkətɜː ˌɑʒɑ̃ proʊˌvɑːkəˈtʊr  
amortise/amortize əˈmɔːtaɪz ˈæmərˌtaɪz BrE uses two spellings & pronounced əˈmɔːtaɪz. In AmE the word is usually spelled amortize & pronounced ˈæmərˌtaɪz.
amphitheater/amphitheatre ˈæmfɪˌθɪətə ˈæmfəˌθiətər BrE is spelled amphitheatre & pronounced ˈæmfɪˌθɪətə. In AmE the word is usually spelled amphitheater & pronounced ˈæmfəˌθiətər.
avoirdupois ˌævwɑːdjuːˈpwɑː ˌævərdəˈpɔɪz  
basalt ˈbæsɔːlt (1) bəˈsɔlt
(2) ˈbeɪˌsɔlt
bitumen ˈbɪtjʊmɪn baɪˈtumən  
boehmite (1) ˈbɜːmaɪt
(2) ˈboʊmaɪt
(1) ˈbeɪmaɪt
(2) ˈboʊmaɪt
The first pronunciations approximate German [ø] (spelled 〈ö〉 or 〈oe〉); the second ones are anglicized.
bolognaise/bolognese ˌbɒləˈneɪz ˌboʊlənˈjeɪz BrE uses two spellings & pronounced ˌbɒləˈneɪz. In AmE the word is usually spelled bolognese & pronounced ˌboʊlənˈjeɪz.
boroughA2 ˈbʌrə ˈbɜːroʊ  
bouquet (1) buːˈkeɪ
(2) ˈbuːkeɪ
(1) boʊˈkeɪ
(2) buːˈkeɪ
boyar (1) ˈbɔɪɑː
(2) boʊˈjɑː
(1) boʊˈjɑːr
(2) ˈbɔɪjər
buoyA2 ˈbɔɪ ˈbuːi The British pronunciation occurs in America more commonly for the verb than the noun; still more in derivatives buoyant, buoyancy.
canton kænˈtuːn (1) kænˈtɑːn
(2) kænˈtoʊn
difference is only in military sense "to quarter soldiers"
other senses can have stress on either syllable in both countries.
capillary kəˈpɪlərɪ ˈkæpəˌlɛri  
Caribbean ˌkærəˈbiən kəˈrɪbɪən  
cheong sam ˈtʃɒŋˈsæm tʃɛˈɔŋˈsɑm  
clitoris (1) ˈklɪtərɪs
(2) ˈklaɪtərɪs
combatant ˈkɒmbətənt kəmˈbætənt  
communalB2 ˈkɒmjʊnəl kəˈmjunəl  
composite ˈkɒmpəzɪt kəmˈpɑzɪt  
coronary ˈkɒrənərɪ ˈkɔːrəˌnɛri  
corral kɒˈrɑːl kəˈræl  
cosmosA2[133] ˈkɒzmɒs (1) ˈkɑzməs
(2) ˈkɑzˌmoʊs
dachshund ˈdæksˌənd ˈdɑksˌhʊnd  
Dante ˈdæntɪ ˈdɑːnteɪ  
desideratumAB2 dɪˌzɪdəˈrɑːtəm dɪˌsɪdəˈreɪtəm  
dilettante dɪləˈtænti (1) ˈdɪlətɑːnt
(2) ˌdɪləˈtɑːnt
BrE reflects the word's Italian origin; AmE approximates more to French.
docile ˈdoʊsaɪl ˈdɑsəl  
Don Quixote ˈdɒnˈkwɪksət ˌdɑnkiˈhoʊteɪ  
enquiry/inquiry ɪŋˈkwaɪ(ə)ri (1) ˈɪnkwəri
(2) ɪŋˈkwaɪri
BrE uses two spellings, pronounced ɛŋˈkwaɪ(ə)ri and ɪŋˈkwaɪ(ə)ri. In AmE the word is usually spelled inquiry.
epochA2 ˈiːpɒk ˈɛpək  
ethosA2 ˈiːθɒs ˈɛθˌoʊs  
expletive ɪkˈspliːtɪv ˈɛksplətɪv  
febrileA2[134] ˈfiːbraɪl (1) ˈfɛbriːl
(2) ˈfɛbrəl
The BrE pronunciation occurs in AmE  
fracas ˈfrækɑː (1) ˈfreɪkəs
(2) ˈfrækəs
(3) frəˈkɑː
The BrE plural is French fracas /ˈfrækɑːz/. For AmE examples (1) and (2), the plural is anglicized fracases
Galapagos ɡəˈlæpəɡɒs gəˈlɑpəˌgoʊs  
glacier (1) ˈɡlæsiə
(2) ˈɡleɪsiə
GlasgowA2 ˈɡlɑːzɡoʊ ˈglæsgoʊ  
holocaust ˈhɒləˌkɔːst (1) ˈhoʊləˌkɔst
(2) ˈhɔləˌkɔst
hurricaneAB2 ˈhʌrɪkən ˈhɜːrɪˌkeɪn  
impasse (1) æmˈpɑːs
(2) ˈæmpɑːs
(1) ˈɪm pæs
(2) ɪmˈpæs
The BrE pronunciations are more true to the French.
jalousie (1) ʒælʊˈziː
(2) ˈʒælʊziː
junta ˈdʒʌntə ˈhʊntə  
kudos ˈkjuːdɒs ˈkuˌdoʊs  
lapsang souchong ˈlæpsæŋ suːˈʃɒŋ ˌlɑːpsɑːŋ ˈsuːʃɑːŋ  
lassoAB2 ləˈsuː ˈlæsoʊ
lieutenant (1) lɛfˈtɛnənt
(2) ləˈtɛnənt
luːˈtɛnənt The 2nd British pronunciation is restricted to the Royal Navy. Standard Canadian and Australian pronunciation is the same as the British.
liqueur lɪˈkjʊə lɪˈkɜːr  
lychee (1) ˈliːtʃiː
(2) laɪˈtʃiː
ˈliːtʃiː Spelling litchi has pronunciation /ˈlɪtʃiː/. The BrE pronunciation /laɪˈtʃiː/ also occurs in AmE.
mama[135] (1) ˈmamə
(2) məˈmɑː
methyl ˈmiːθaɪl ˈmɛθəl  
Molière ˈmɒliɛə moʊlˈjɛr  
moustache[136] mʊˈstɑːʃ ˈmʌs.tæʃ  
oblique əbˈliːk əbˈlaɪk AmE is as BrE except in military sense "advance at an angle"
oregano ˌɒrɪˈɡɑːnoʊ (1) ɔˈrɛgənoʊ
(2) əˈrɛgənoʊ
PakistanA2[137] ˌpɑːkɪˈstɑːn ˈpæk əˌstæn
paprikaAB2 ˈpæprɪkə pəˈprikə  
pathosA2 ˈpeɪθɒs (1) ˈpeɪˌθɔs
(2) ˈpeɪˌθoʊs
penchant pɑ̃ˈʃɑ̃ ˈpɛntʃənt The AmE pronunciation is anglicized; the BrE is French.
penult pɛˈnʌlt (1) ˈpiːnʌlt
(2) pɪˈnʌlt
phthisic[138] (1) ˈ(f)θaɪsɪk
(2) ˈtaɪsɪk
(1) ˈtɪzɪk
(2) ˈθɪzɪk
premature[139] (1)ˈpremətʃə
(2) ˈprɛmətjʊə
(2) ˌpriːməˈtʊr
premierA2 (1) ˈprɛmjə
(2) ˈprɛmɪə
(1) prɪmˈɪər
(2) ˈpriːmɪər
première ˈprɛmɪɛə (1) prɪˈmɪər
(2) prɪmˈjɛr
progress (1) ˈproʊɡrɛs
(2) proʊˈɡrɛs
(1) ˈprɑgrɛs
(2) prəˈgrɛs
In both British and American, the noun has stress on the first syllable.
The verb has stress on the second syllable.
provostA2[140] ˈprɒvəst ˈproʊvoʊst
quasi- ˈkweɪzaɪ ˈkwɑːzɪ  
quinine ˈkwɪniːn (1) ˈkwaɪnaɪn
(2) ˈkwɪnaɪn
resource (1) rᵻˈzɔːs
(2) rᵻˈsɔːs
respiratory rɪˈspɪrətrɪ ˈrɛspərəˌtɔːri  
respite ˈrɛspaɪt (1) ˈrɛspɪt
(2) rᵻˈspaɪt
reveille rɪˈvæliː ˈrɛvəli  
Rioja riːˈɒkə riˈoʊhɑ  
risotto rɪˈzɒtoʊ rɪˈsɔːtoʊ  
Schleswig-Holstein ˈʃlezvɪɡ ˈhɒlˌstaɪn ˈʃlɛswɪg ˈhoʊlˌstin  
shallot ʃəˈlɒt ˈʃælət  
Silesia (1) saɪˈliːsiə
(2) saɪˈliːziə
(1) sɪˈliʃə
(2) sɪˈliʒə
slough slaʊ slʌf sense "bog"; in metaphorical sense "gloom", the BrE pronunciation is common in AmE. Homograph "cast off skin" is /slʌf/ everywhere.
surrogateA2 (1) ˈsʌrəɡɪt
(2) ˈsʌrəˌɡeɪt
(1) ˈsɜːrəgɪt
(2) ˈsɜːrəˌgeɪt
thoroughA2 ˈθʌrə ˈθɜːroʊ  
timbale tæmˈbɑːl ˈtɪmbəl  
Tunisia tjuːˈnɪziə (1) tuˈniʒə
(2) tuˈniʃə
vaseA2[141] vɑːz (1) veɪs
(2) veɪz
Z (the letter) zɛd ziː The spelling of this letter as a word corresponds to the pronunciation: thus Commonwealth (including, Canada) zed and U.S. zee.


  1. ^ For "dam (barrier)": AmE /ˈbɑːrɪ/
  2. ^ US Listeni/bəˈr/, UK /ˈbɛr/
  3. ^ AmE /bˈfɑːnt/, BrE /ˈbfɒ̃/
  4. ^ AmE Listeni/brˈʃʊr/, BrE (1) /ˈbrʃə/ (2) /brɒˈʃʊə/
  5. ^ BrE (1) /ˈbʊf/ (2) /ˈbʌf/
  6. ^ BrE (1) / ˈdbr/ (2) /ˈdɛbr/
  7. ^ BrE /ˈflɒmb/
  8. ^ BrE also /ˈɡærɪ/, esp. for "petrol garage"/"gas station"[8]
  9. ^ AmE /læˈm/, BrE /ˈlɑːm/
  10. ^ AmE /pæˈstl/
  11. ^ AmE /pɑːˈt///pæˈt/, BrE /ˈpæt/
  12. ^ AmE alsom /ˈsɔːrbɪt/
  13. ^ BrE /ˈmɒneɪ/, AmE /moʊˈneɪ/, French: [mɔnɛ]
  14. ^ French: [reno]
  15. ^ French: [ʁɛ̃bo]
  16. ^ BrE /fɪˈɒns/
  17. ^ The British variant is sometimes discouraged; see pronunciation note in reference.
  18. ^ Only middle vowel reduced in the BrE pronunciations.
  19. ^ The last vowel is often reduced in BrE. AmE only reduces the middle one.
  20. ^ The British is typically [ɹɪˈneɪs(ə)ns] and the American [ˈɹɛnəsɑns] or even [ɹɛnəˈsɑns]
  21. ^ Also / ˌtɜːrɪˈvɜːrst/
  22. ^ The American variant is sometimes discouraged; see pronunciation note in reference.
  23. ^ AmE (1) /ˈmɑːrʃˌmɛl/ AmE (2) & BrE /-mæl/
  24. ^ AmE /ˈmɪsəˌlni/
  25. ^ AmE also /ˈd/
  26. ^ AmE also /ˈsɛnl/
  27. ^ The 2007 update to the Oxford English Dictionary gives only /n/ for the British pronunciation of pristine.
  28. ^ AmE also /ˈstrætʌm/
  29. ^ BrE also /rɔːθ/ Scottish English /ræθ/
  30. ^ BrE also /kʊəˈʒɛt/
  31. ^ BrE also /ɒl/
  32. ^ AmE also /də/
  33. ^ AmE also /pɔːlˈmɔːl/
  34. ^ BrE also /ˈnʌɡt/
  35. ^ AmE also /sɔːrˈb/


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p "Unsourced words: Random House (AmE) & Collins (further down, BrE).)". 
  2. ^ a b c "Unsourced words: Oxford Dictionary of English (BrE).)". Oxford Dictionaries. 
  3. ^ "brevet (AmE)". Merriam-Webster. 
  4. ^ "brochure (BrE)". Oxford Dictionaries. 
  5. ^ "buffet". Oxford Learner's Dictionaries. 
  6. ^ "canard". Oxford Learner's Dictionaries. 
  7. ^ "chiffon". Oxford Learner's Dictionaries. 
  8. ^ Oxford English Dictionary, Second Edition
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "BrE pronunciation". Oxford Dictionaries. 
  10. ^ "soupçon". Oxford Learner's Dictionaries. 
  11. ^ "Dijon (BrE)". Oxford Dictionaries. "Dijon (AmE)". Oxford Dictionaries. 
  12. ^ "Dumas (BrE)". Oxford Dictionaries. "Dumas (AmE)". Oxford Dictionaries. 
  13. ^ "Manet (BrE)". Oxford Dictionaries. "Manet (AmE)". Oxford Dictionaries. 
  14. ^ "Monet (BrE)". Oxford Dictionaries. 
  15. ^ "Renault (BrE)". Oxford Dictionaries. "Renault (AmE)". Oxford Dictionaries. 
  16. ^ "Rimbaud (BrE)". Oxford Dictionaries. "Rimbaud (AmE)". Oxford Dictionaries. 
  17. ^ "démodé (BrE)". Macmillan Dictionary. "démodé (AmE)". Macmillan Dictionary. 
  18. ^ "decade (BrE)". Oxford Dictionaries. 
  19. ^ "liaison (AmE)". Oxford Dictionaries. 
  20. ^ "cremate (AmE)". Merriam-Webster. 
  21. ^ "striate (BrE)". Oxford Dictionaries. 
  22. ^ "vacate (BrE)". Oxford Dictionaries. 
  23. ^ "migratory". Oxford Learner's Dictionaries. 
  24. ^ "vibratory(AmE)". Oxford Dictionaries. 
  25. ^ "remonstrate (AmE)". Merriam-Webster. 
  26. ^ "tergiversate". Oxford Learner's Dictionaries. "tergiversate (AmE)". Merriam-Webster. 
  27. ^ "celebratory". Oxford Learner's Dictionaries. 
  28. ^ "compensatory (BrE)". Oxford Dictionaries. 
  29. ^ "participatory". Oxford Learner's Dictionaries. 
  30. ^ "regulatory (BrE)". Oxford Dictionaries. 
  31. ^ "compensatory (AmE)". Oxford Dictionaries. 
  32. ^ "laboratory". Oxford Learner's Dictionaries. "laboratory (BrE)". Oxford Dictionaries. 
  33. ^ "kilometre (BrE)". Oxford Dictionaries. 
  34. ^ Wells, J.C. "Whatever happened to Received Pronunciation?". 
  35. ^ "guffaw (AmE)". Merriam-Webster. 
  36. ^ "medullary (BrE)". Cambridge Dictionaries. 
  37. ^ "patronal (AmE)". Oxford Dictionaries. 
  38. ^ "spreadeagled (BrE)". Cambridge Dictionaries. 
  39. ^ "obscurantism". Oxford Learner's Dictionaries. 
  40. ^ "military (BrE)". Oxford Dictionaries. "military (AmE)". Oxford Dictionaries. 
  41. ^ "inventory (BrE)". Oxford Dictionaries. "inventory (AmE)". Oxford Dictionaries. 
  42. ^ "testimony". Oxford Learner's Dictionaries. 
  43. ^ "innovative". Oxford Learner's Dictionaries. 
  44. ^ "library". Oxford Learner's Dictionaries. 
  45. ^ "primary". Oxford Learner's Dictionaries. "primary (AmE)". Oxford Dictionaries. 
  46. ^ "rosemary". Oxford Learner's Dictionaries. 
  47. ^ "necessarily (BrE)". Oxford English Dictionary June 2003 update. 
  48. ^ "ductile (AmE)". Merriam-Webster. 
  49. ^ "mobile (AmE)". Oxford Dictionaries. 
  50. ^ "utile (BrE)". Oxford Dictionaries. "utile (AmE)". Oxford Dictionaries. 
  51. ^ "projectile (BrE)". Oxford Dictionaries. 
  52. ^ "mobile (AmE)". Oxford Dictionaries. 
  53. ^ "rutile (BrE)". Oxford Dictionaries. 
  54. ^ a b c d e f g h "All (unsourced) words, AmE pronunciation". 
  55. ^ "labyrinthine (AmE)". Merriam-Webster. 
  56. ^ "Saint (BrE)". Oxford Dictionaries. 
  57. ^ "Changing Voices: Trap Bath Split". British Library. Retrieved 4 November 2014. 
  58. ^ "cadre - definition of cadre in English from the Oxford dictionary". 
  59. ^ "cadre: definition of cadre in Oxford dictionary (American English) (US)". 
  60. ^ "chorale: definition of chorale in Oxford dictionary (American English) (US)". Oxford Dictionaries. 
  61. ^ "Colorado: definition of Colorado in Oxford dictionary (American English) (US)". Oxford Dictionaries. 
  62. ^ "Nevada (main AmE, Collins BrE)". 
  63. ^ "pajamas: definition of pajamas in Oxford dictionary (American English) (US)". Oxford Dictionaries. 
  64. ^ "Ankara: definition of Ankara in Oxford dictionary (American English) (US)". Oxford Dictionaries. 
  65. ^ "aqua: definition of aqua in Oxford dictionary (American English) (US)". Oxford Dictionaries. 
  66. ^ "goulash: definition of goulash in Oxford dictionary (American English) (US)". Oxford Dictionaries. 
  67. ^ "Kebab (BrE)". Oxford Dictionaries. "Kebab (AmE)". Oxford Dictionaries. 
  68. ^ "Milan: definition of Milan in Oxford dictionary (American English) (US)". Oxford Dictionaries. 
  69. ^ "rallentando: definition of rallentando in Oxford dictionary (American English) (US)". Oxford Dictionaries. 
  70. ^ "regatta: definition of regatta in Oxford dictionary (American English) (US)". Oxford Dictionaries. 
  71. ^ a b c "AmE". Merriam-Webster. 
  72. ^ "praline (BrE)". Oxford Dictionaries. 
  73. ^ "catch (AmE)". Oxford Dictionaries. 
  74. ^ "quagmire (BrE)". Oxford Dictionaries. 
  75. ^ "schmaltz (AmE)". Oxford Dictionaries. 
  76. ^ "aesthete (BrE)". Oxford Dictionaries. 
  77. ^ "amenity (BrE)". Oxford Dictionaries. 
  78. ^ a b c Brown, Lesley. The New Shorter Oxford English Dictionary. Oxford University Press. 
  79. ^ "era (AmE)". Oxford Dictionaries. 
  80. ^ "esoteric (BrE)". Oxford Dictionaries. 
  81. ^ "hysteria (AmE)". Oxford Dictionaries. 
  82. ^ "oestrogen (BrE)". Oxford Dictionaries. 
  83. ^ "oestrus (BrE)". Oxford Dictionaries. 
  84. ^ "predilection (AmE)". Oxford Dictionaries. 
  85. ^ "schizophrenia (AmE)". Oxford Dictionaries. 
  86. ^ "depot (AmE)". Oxford Dictionaries. 
  87. ^ "presentation (AmE)". Oxford Dictionaries. 
  88. ^ "repartee (AmE)". Oxford Dictionaries. 
  89. ^ "Haggai (BrE)". Oxford Dictionaries. "Haggai (AmE)". Oxford Dictionaries. 
  90. ^ "accomplice (BrE)". Oxford Dictionaries. 
  91. ^ "accomplish (BrE)". Oxford Dictionaries. 
  92. ^ "baroque (BrE)". Oxford Dictionaries. 
  93. ^ "Boccherini (AmE)". Oxford Dictionaries. 
  94. ^ "cognac (AmE)". Oxford Dictionaries. 
  95. ^ "concerto grosso (AmE)". Oxford Dictionaries. 
  96. ^ "olfactory (AmE)". Oxford Dictionaries. 
  97. ^ "produce (AmE)". Oxford Dictionaries. 
  98. ^ "protege (BrE)". Oxford Dictionaries. 
  99. ^ "Provencal (AmE)". Oxford Dictionaries. 
  100. ^ "solstice (AmE)". Oxford Dictionaries. 
  101. ^ "Tolstoy (AmE)". Oxford Dictionaries. 
  102. ^ "yoghurt (BrE)". Oxford Dictionaries. 
  103. ^ "codicil (BrE)". Oxford Dictionaries. 
  104. ^ "process (AmE)". Oxford Dictionaries. 
  105. ^ "italic (AmE)". Oxford Dictionaries. 
  106. ^ "long-lived (BrE)". Macmillan Dictionary. 
  107. ^ "short-lived (BrE)". Macmillan Dictionary. 
  108. ^ "privacy (BrE)". Oxford Dictionaries. 
  109. ^ "tricolour (BrE)". Oxford Dictionaries. 
  110. ^ "been (main AmE, Collins BrE)". 
  111. ^ "route (main AmE, Collins BrE)". 
  112. ^ See pronunciation note at
  113. ^ "melancholy (main AmE, Collins BrE)". 
  114. ^ "parallelepiped (main AmE, Collins BrE)". 
  115. ^ OED entry
  116. ^ "erudite (main AmE, Collins BrE)". 
  117. ^ "résumé (main AmE, Collins BrE)". 
  118. ^ "sandwich (main AmE, Collins BrE)". 
  119. ^ "sexuality (main AmE, Collins BrE)". 
  120. ^ "sexuality (BrE)". Oxford Dictionaries. 
  121. ^ "Jesuit (main AmE, Collins BrE)". 
  122. ^ "Jesuit (BrE)". Oxford Dictionaries. 
  123. ^ "Dionysius (main AmE, Collins BrE)". 
  124. ^ "celestial (main AmE, Collins BrE)". 
  125. ^ "consortium (main AmE, Collins BrE)". 
  126. ^ "sentient (main AmE, Collins BrE)". 
  127. ^ "sentient (BrE)". Oxford Dictionaries. 
  128. ^ "commensurable (BrE)". Oxford Dictionaries. "commensurable (AmE)". Oxford Dictionaries. 
  129. ^ Wells, John C. (1990). Longman Pronunciation Dictionary. Longman. 
  130. ^ "chthonic (BrE)". Oxford Dictionaries. "chthonic (AmE)". Oxford Dictionaries. 
  131. ^ "herb (main AmE, Collins BrE)". 
  132. ^ "Knossos (BrE)". Oxford Dictionaries. 
  133. ^ "cosmos (main AmE, Collins BrE)". 
  134. ^ "febrile (AmE)". Merriam-Webster. "febrile (AmE)". Macmillan Dictionary. 
  135. ^ "mama (BrE)". Oxford Dictionaries. "mama (AmE)". Oxford Dictionaries. 
  136. ^ "moustache". Oxford Learner's Dictionaries. 
  137. ^ "Pakistan (main AmE, Collins BrE)". 
  138. ^ "phthisic (main AmE, Collins BrE)". 
  139. ^ "premature". Oxford Learner's Dictionaries. 
  140. ^ "provost (main AmE, Collins BrE)". 
  141. ^ "vase (main AmE, Collins BrE)". 

Further reading[edit]